In some religions, when you die, you get your ticket punched to Heaven or Hell; never mind the get-out clause. In others, there's the notion of a sin bin where you receive a time-out until Judgment Day or the Resurrection comes.
Catholics, however, have a place called Purgatory, or an in-between space, which is the subject of Miami street artist Typoe's new installation at Locust Projects. "Purgatory (False Ceiling)" is his architectural vision of the netherworld between Heaven and Hell. It uses as a starting point Michelangelo's masterpiece commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
The renegade graffiti tagger created a drop ceiling that is roughly one-fourth the size of Michelangelo's crowning opus. He used huge images of the Renaissance master's iconic Creation of Adam
and Last Judgment printed on paper. Then he wheat-pasted them to his
faux ceiling, which dangles from wires a few feet above the spectator's
He also glued images of Michelangelo's statues of David and the
Pieta to cover his mammoth slab of hovering drywall. Then he booted Michelangelo off of his proverbial scaffold and dropped a
can of chunky-style whoop-ass on the venerated painter's head.
The artist has taken his appropriation of religious iconography to an
unexpected level in this exhibit. The work is muscular, brash, and
unrepentant, as telegraphed by the artist and his crew bragging "We run
this shit" here.
Typoe is no Michelangelo, but saints alive -- he is a bad, bad
motherfucker who makes you wonder what Il Divino Buonarroti might have
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accomplished if armed with cans of spray paint.
Look for our full review in next week's issue.
"Purgatory (False Ceiling)" Through April 30. Locust Projects, 155 NE 38th St., Miami; 305-576-8570; locustprojects.org. Tuesday through Saturday noon to 5 p.m.